As has been mentioned before on HTBS, there will be a cocktail reception, raw bar, and silent auction in memory of Hart Perry on Friday 9 March between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (The auction will close on Saturday 10 March at 6 p.m.) The reception and auction will be held at the National Rowing Hall of Fame in the G.W. Blunt White Building at Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, Connecticut. The cost is $100, and the proceeds from this event will be used for projects related to rowing history and the National Rowing Hall of Fame and rowing exhibits. To register for the reception, go here.
The highlight of the evening will be the auction of Hart Perry’s Thames pulling dinghy, donated by Gill Perry and the Perry family. Here is a description of the dinghy, “Corpus Leandri”: Length: 10ft.; Beam: 4ft. 2in.; Draft: 1ft. 3in.
This clinker-built boat was made in England possibly by Hobbs of Henley-on-Thames or Wyatts of Wargrave, probably in the 1930s, or maybe earlier (there is no boat builder plaque in the boat). There are some uncertainties about what kind of wood has been used, but a qualified guess is cedar on elm, six planks per side. The stern is mahogany whereupon is painted “Corpus Leandri” (the motto of Leander Club is “Corpus Leandri Spes Mea”). One sculling thwart, adjustable stretcher, stern seat and small bow seat, both with backrests in mahogany, and accompanying old velvet cushions. Two floorboards (2x2 floorboards), and a pair of bronze swivel rowlocks (oarlocks) and rudder with lines. Although the dinghy is in good condition, the thwart, floorboards, and inside will need to be re-varnished before the first outing of the season. The dinghy comes with Hart Perry’s sculls, and the blades are painted in Leander cerise.
The starting bid is $5,000. If you are not able to attend the silent auction in person, you are welcome to contact auctioneer Tom Sanford, who will accept your bids from 12 p.m. Friday 9 March to 6 p.m. Saturday 10 March via email or phone:
This dinghy comes with a remarkable rowing histo
Charles “Don” Desborough Burnell (1875–196
For the 1908 Olympic rowing in Henley, Don Bur
In 1903, Don Burnell had married Jessie Backhou
Having a father and a son being Olympic gold meda
Peter Burnell in his
Before World War II, Don and Jessie Burnell lived in Wedmore, which was a fairly large house on Remenham Hill, going out of Henley towards Maidenhead. During the War, when they lived in a little terraced house in St Mark’s Road in Henley, they bought a plot of land in Wargrave, outside of Henley, where they began to build a ho
In June 1940, Dickie Burnell married Rosalind Garton, daughter of Stanley Garton, who had won an Olympic gold medal in the Leander eight i
The Burnell Family at Brentwode: from left to right, Don Burnell, his wife Jessie, Zandra, Dickie, Dickie
When Don Burnell’s wife Jessie died in 1966, he sold Brentwode and moved in to live at Leander Club. It was there that Hart Perry (1933–2011), c
One of Hart Perry’s greatest successes as a coach for Kent came in 1972, when his Kent eight took the Princess Elizabeth Cup at Henley. Two years later, in 1974, Perry was
Perry was the first U.S. citizen to sit on Leander’s governing committee, and was instrumental in raising funds for Leander’s major renovation, in which the club’s bedrooms were named after prominent British and U.S. rowing schools and colleges. Perry brought the dinghy home to Connecticut, where he and his children enjoyed many outings on the Housatonic. When Perry left Kent School to settle in North Stonington, Connecticut, the dinghy naturally came along.
For more than 50 years, Perry lived a life in rowing: he rowed, coached, and served as an official in both national and international events, in two Olympic Games, 18 World Rowing Junior Championships, and 10 World Rowing Championships, and for decades he was working with Juniors within FISA, the international rowing federation. He was the president of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen, the predecessor organization to USRowing, and after he stepped down from that position, he became the driving force to raise money for U.S. athletes to compete in international regattas. Hart Perry was ind
I would especially like to thank Zandra Houston (nee Burnell) and her siblings for their memories about the Burnell dinghy and for providing information about their father and grandfather, and allowing HTBS to post photographs from the Burnell family photo album. Thanks also to Dr. Robert Treharne Jones, press officer at Leander Club, for information. I am also grateful to rowing historian and Leander member Tom Weil for